Waves Fall as Gaels Advance to Semis, 75-71

Pepperdine seniors Jimmy Miggins, Mike Westphal, Boomer Brazzle, and Dustin Johnson did not want to go out in the quarterfinals of the West Coast Conference tournament. Miggins and Westphal, especially, fought valiantly and made multiple clutch shots, but were unable to overcome a spirited St. Mary's team in the end.

Miggins finished his collegiate career with one of his best performances, turning in 23 points, eight rebounds, and five assists in his final appearance as a Wave. Alex Acker added 12 points and Westphal 11. Brazzle finished with eight points and six rebounds to end his stint as one of the most popular players on the squad.

Pepperdine has relied on the three-pointer to keep them in games all season long, but with the exception of Westphal, it betrayed them in this game, as they shot a collective 3-13 (23%).

Jonathon Sanders paced St. Mary's with a career-high 23 points. Daniel Kickert scored 16, and Frederic Adjiwanou had 14 and a team-high seven rebounds. Adam Caporn chipped in 11 with a couple of back-breaking three-pointers.

The Waves held the Gaels to just 33% shooting in the first half, but were only able to muster a 31-28 edge. In fact, an argument could be made that the game was lost in the final moments of the first half. Given a chance to push a lead to seven, the Waves fumbled the ball away and allowed the Gaels to score; then the Waves failed to get off a shot on the final possession of the half.

For the beginning of the second half, the Waves barely held off several St. Mary's bids for the lead. The Gaels finally went ahead with about ten minutes to go, and began to pull away, leading by as many as nine at 56-47.

But that was when Miggins and Westphal imposed their will, leading a 14-4 charge to take a 61-60 lead at the 5:23 mark.

The rest of the half was a thrilling see-saw battle.

Trailing 67-65, Terrance Johnson nailed a three-pointer with 3:00 left to take a one-point lead. But Caporn responded with a three of his own to put the Gaels back up 70-68. That score held for several failed possessions at both ends until the Gaels hit their free throws to extend to a five-point edge.

Though Westphal got the Waves to within two with a clutch bomb, the Waves would get no closer. St. Mary's converted late free throws, and Terrance Johnson's three fell to the floor as the buzzer sounded.

With it, the hopes of the Waves' star-crossed season.